KF LS50 Wireless Speakers Question Everything I Believe About Audio

I think starting this thread is a bad idea but I can’t help myself…

I’m a few months into owning a pair of KEF LS50 Wireless speakers. They needed a long break-in period but are now challenging me to question my approach to speakers and audio in general. Like many others, I’m starting to wonder if passive speakers get it REALLY wrong? I realize this topic has been discussed to great lengths but so have most other audio topics.

I purchased the LS50 Wireless after reading and watching content created by John Darko. I had never owned active speakers but my curiosity was intense so I took a chance.

I think most who have heard the passive KEF LS50 would agree it’s a nice speaker with fantastic driver technology. In the LS50 Wireless, I doubt the DACs nor the amps are anything special yet I’ve never been more captivated by sound than I have from these speakers. And, it’s just the speakers and a Roon Core since everything else I need is within the speakers. In fact, my Focal, Primaluna, PS Audio (DAC) and REL gear have been disconnected and moved to a storage room since August.

Maybe the accepted approach of crossovers between an amplifier and a transducer truly is outdated? With the current capabilities, tools, talent, materials and manufacturing options, I wonder if it’s time to change course? Sure, this might effectively evacuate the entertainment value of our audiophile tinkering and upgrading behaviors but the passive model requires both speakers and amp designers to accommodate a substantial number of combinations. Isn’t this a lot of work when the active model doesn’t involve these variables.

Would a $200,000 Wilson Audio active speaker be a total failure?

Why isn’t PSA’s upcoming speaker line completely active? (I know Paul has commented on the topic in posts and videos but I’m still wondering)

Does the passive model prevail because:

  • The hobby’s behavior and culture overwhelmingly support it and always will?
  • People don’t want all the eggs in one basket when things go south?
  • “we’ve always done it this way”
  • Audio shows would be too boring?
  • Something else or additional?
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Passive crossovers have many issues and compromises, agreed. Some thoughts:

  • passive crossovers fall party into the “art” area of audio design - following textbooks often produces disappointing results.
  • there are two “groups” of folks who do enjoy active (implying no hierarchy - just different):
    1 - those who go your route and buy fully active speakers - great sound, no faff of boxes, but no fun for those who actually like adding and changing boxes, and tweaking.
    2 - those who go the component route and buy a crossover (digital or line level analogue) and separate power amps, come up with a solution for volume control (which may be bespoke), and quite often actually build their speakers too (I am in this camp).

2 requires an understanding of filtering in general, and crossover filters in particular, along with a bunch of other technical issues, not everyone has this (or wants it) even amongst the "tinkerers and tweakers.

SO there is a gap between those 2 groups where no boxes is not fun for them (us) but lacking the necessary knowledge or desire to go as far as component active crossovering.

  • It removes the single power amp (or two stereo for bi-amping without active crossovering) from the equation and requires multi channel amps. No BHKs (unless you want to buy and run 3 or 4 of them!).

Great post and I agree that we as audiophiles can potentially receive more value for our money when we purchase a well engineered packaged solution from a manufacturer.

With that said, I’ve heard Paul, Darko, and Zero Fidelity speak well of powered/all in one speaker solutions but one of them (don’t remember which one) also said that they tend not to sell that well because audiophiles like to tweak and customize and that was my experience with the KEF LS50’s.

I had the actives and really liked the sound but I was using them in a near field setup (desktop) and didn’t like certain things such as no physical volume knob, noise floor was slightly too high for my liking, and had a hard time getting a sub (REL) dialed in.

I ended up going passive LS50 with PS Audio gear (with the REL) and doing a shootout with the actives and the passive system won hands down on overall performance in my setup. I obviously spent way more money but eliminated everything that was irritating me about the active setup and don’t want for anything more in my desktop setup now.

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I’ve gone down the same path. I started with KEF LSX in my office. Once the roon issues were improved with the latest firmware, they have been more than adequate. I listen for hours every day. I liked the active approach so I purchased a pair of Dutch & Dutch 8cs unseen and never auditioned. They have been in my main listening room ever since. I sold my DS DAC Sr, SGCD and both of my M700s and all my interconnects. Once the 8cs have roon support, I plan to sell my Matrix which is currently converting USB from my NUC running ROCK to AES into the 8cs. I will then have a roon core playing music over ethernet to my 8cs, LSXs, Sonos Playbar and my Apple Home Pod.

It’s a simple system for the end user, me and my family. All of the complexity has been abstracted in the active systems.


I agree with your summary. I have used the KEF LS50 Wireless speakers as an introduction to the audiophile world for 3 different friends. I tell them that it is a music system that provides them a gateway to high end audio. The setup has a high spousal acceptance factor and they crank out prodigous amounts of sound for the size. My friends are not audiophiles but they now are listening to music more and actually listening to soundstaging in between the speakers.

I told them that for around $2000 they could get 90%-95% of the sound with my setup that is north of $50K. I currently have Magnaplanar 20.7’s with all PS BHK Gear, DS Dac, P15 Powerplant, etc. The dutch and dutch intrigue me as a simple solution that might get me close to 95% to 99% of what I currently have. Although it seems hard for me to consider giving up my Maggies.


The Dutch & Dutch 8cs look absolutely amazing and I see those in my long term future. I also find them extremely visually appealing in the photos I’ve seen.

Were it not for Siri, I might replace several systems with a pair of HomePods using AirPlay 2. These things just sound great.

I’ve added a pair of LS50 wireless in my second home. I’ve gone full active. LSX, LS50W, and D&D 8c.

One review I read opined that the LSX introduce reverb into the sound. Do you think this is true? I’m close to getting a pair of them and would like your opinion. Is there anything about the LSX you don’t like? Roon is working really well with them, correct?

I have not heard that from mine. I have them in my home office and mainly use them for background music during the day though.